I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I am a good person. In many ways, I’m not. I’ve wished ill on people who have wronged me in the past, hoping they would stumble and fall, gleeful in the prospect of watching them suffer or crash and burn. Part of that is due to the meanness that is in me but also because they wronged me so badly and I was so hurt by them, it’s difficult not to hope they get a taste of their own medicine.
The people who seek revenge in this world have felt the most helpless and powerless and are in the most pain. In a way, they deserve the most compassion from those around them, instead of merely being painted as the villain.
While I am villainous in some ways, I am too good for my own sake in others. I’ve often contemplated giving away most of my money to people in disadvantaged countries where clean, running water or even enough food is a luxury. But then I think to myself, if our positions were reversed, if those people were where I am now and I was the one poor and starving, would they do anything for me? Then there have been the times I have been nice to people, even kind to them, and they repaid me with hatred or didn’t appreciate what I did for them. What’s the point of being a nice person to bad people? To evil people?
Where do we draw the line? Who is good, and who is bad? In my opinion, I think I want to be good but because everyone else is kind of bad I end up being bad too so I don’t lose out. If you’re the only kind one amongst a bunch of indifferent or cruel people, you’re going to end up losing out, wasting your time and kindness on those who don’t deserve it. What about rich people? Are they bad, if they don’t care about the disadvantaged people of the world and society? And why should they care? Would those poorer people, if the positions were reversed, do anything for them? Is this about a give and take relationship, or is it about being kind for the sake of being kind, and what is the value in that?
I’m trying to figure out my morals and values. Obvious ones like not murdering people or physically harming people are obvious. But psychologically hurting people? Emotionally hurting people? I’ve done that, or tried to. I know it’s wrong but still I did it, out of spite, out of hate. Since it’s so hard to be perfectly good, should we just throw in the towel and become true villains? Greedy, hungry for accumulating wealth, comfort and happiness only for ourselves, living for me, myself and I? Superficial, judging people based on their looks and status? I’m starting to become convinced there are no good people in this world, that we’re all just shades of grey. At some moments we are good, at other moments we are bad. We are all villains and the good guys put together, and isn’t that terrifying, for there to be no dichotomy, but just to know we are all just flawed human beings put on this earth without knowing why we are here?
This world is both a frightening and beautiful place to me for that very reason. This is a godless world where good and evil reign in equal measure and at random. We could become a wonderful, ecologically-sustainable world society or our polluted civilisation could crash and become a post-apocalyptic world where people fight and kill just for a bite of food, like animals. I can imagine it very clearly. The world could become war-torn, with people fighting over water, or we could be basking in the sunshine with skyscrapers that rise up into the sky, covered in solar panels and plants. The fate of the world feels very much in our own hands, especially since the gods don’t seem to feel like intervening any time soon. We could love each other and all hold hands, or hate each other and kill each other with swords. What is this monster that lurks inside of us, and what is the angel that tries to rise to the surface?
I am afraid of a lot of things. I’m afraid of death, and pain. I’m afraid of angry people and disapproval. But those fears are nearly nothing compared to my fear of the evil within me. And evil, ultimately, is a choice. So is good. When you hurt another person, you are not doing it because you have any valid reason to or any such nonsense. It’s because you want to. You want to see them suffer, you want to make them hurt. And here’s the kicker – evil is so much stronger than good. That’s what all the stories and movies have told us, and it’s true. Villains are always stronger. So is the darkness within all of us. It is more powerful than the good that lies deep within, and it is our choices that feed its power.
That’s the battle we fight every day, the choice to be good or bad, every thought, every action, every word we speak, every word we type. You have to fight against the monster inside of you or otherwise, it will win and you will be left with the horrible, squeamish feeling that you are a hideous person or experience cognitive dissonance or worse, do something you can never undo. We need to be heroes, and the first step to doing that is to pick up the sword, and go to war against the evil within us. It starts with us. It starts with ourselves. The difference between a beautiful world and an ugly one, the difference between love and hatred, the difference between hope and despair. Just the battle between you and yourself as you live out your everyday life.